LSK cracks whip in Murang'a, investigates 45 ‘quack’ lawyers

Eric Theuri

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) CEO Florence Muturi (left), President Eric Theuri (Centre) and Vice President Faith Odhiambo (right) addressing the media at their Head office in Nairobi on December 18, 2023.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) in Murang'a County has declared 2024 as the year to fight the proliferation of fake lawyers in the area, estimating that there are 45 such quacks.

“We will not relent in this war that we launched towards the end of last year but only managed to nab one woman whose case is ongoing at Kenol courts. We will this year move viciously against quacks and charlatans hiding among us,” area branch president, Alex Ndegwa, said in his New Year message on January 4.

“The fake practitioners have distorted the cause of justice by compromising the quality of services, integrity and eroding the good standing of genuine advocates.”

He complained that the quacks have set their fees low to attract many clients, leading them to the chopping block “where many lose their criminal or commercial cases not on merit but on incompetence”.

He added that the bogus lawyers have inflicted huge losses on the economic and social sectors of the region as a result of providing rent-seeking advice and partnering with corrupt networks.

He said some of the practising "lawyers" are high school graduates who were employed in various roles in law firms but picked up tips on how to administer legal services "and are now owners of law firms affiliated to certified practitioners".

He said lawyers who rent out their names and practice licences will also be named and shamed as they "all know it is illegal".

This follows several complaints from stakeholders led by Kikuyu Council of Elders Chairman Wachira Kiago, who on November 18, 2023 complained that “fake lawyers in the county are making real estate deals too risky for realtors”.

He said the quack lawyers defraud people by leading them into stage-managed property deals where they guide their clients to sign faulty agreements that are later challenged in court, leading to dispossession of property and loss of money.

Murang'a Senator Joe Nyutu, while speaking in Kandara Constituency on December 4, 2023, said, “We must eliminate the corrupt village elder, administrator, policeman, lawyer and judicial officers.”

“I will offer my position in the Senate and my support in Murang'a to help the LSK achieve its objectives of annihilating legal pretenders practising among our people.”

The elders also said that local land boards are engaging in corrupt practices where they push through property deals that do not have the consent of the family, especially where vulnerable people such as widows and orphans are supposed to be the beneficiaries.

Murang'a South Acting Deputy County Commissioner Joshua Okello said he supports the LSK clean-up and that the government would provide the logistical support needed to tame the menace.

“Just like the way we are being rallied to say no to public service corruption, we are happy that our lawyers are also seeking our help to clean up their image and we will support them,” he said.

“There are complaints about land boards that are presided over by assistant county commissioners, but we have put in place mechanisms to delay the release of consents for a maximum of 14 days to investigate any hidden mischief in the proposed property transfers.

“Many property cases in courts today are the result of rogue legal input where the original deals were manipulated at the transfer level to [set up a clever] scheme of fraud [with] some of the courts and some of the judicial officers coming on board to hand this country a real estate nightmare”.